Scottish Public Finance Manual

The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) is issued by the Scottish Ministers to provide guidance on the proper handling and reporting of public funds.

Major investment projects: PERs and PIRs guidance

Project Evaluation Reviews are usually conducted when a project is near completion, at the end of a particular project phase, or immediately after project sign-off. The aim is to assess how well the project has been managed rather than the overall success of the project.

They are conducted over a 2-3 week period by a small team, who will read key project documentation, and interview project members, system users and suppliers. They will produce a short report on their findings. Typical terms of reference are:

  • To review the project management and implementation
  • To consider lessons learned for other projects
  • To identify any 'quick wins' that may benefit the business or the users.
  • To report with findings and recommendations

Post-Implementation Reviews can be seen as a detailed investigation of the benefits achieved by the project's products and is generally conducted over a 6-8 week period. It is usually carried out by a small team, independent of the project team, about 9 months after the project sign-off but the actual timing should be agreed by the Project Board at project closure.

The review involves the detailed analysis of project documentation, stakeholder interviews and the production of a comprehensive report. Its primary objective is to investigate whether the aims of the business case have been satisfied and to identify any lessons learned. Typical terms of reference for a Post Implementation Review (in addition to those of a Project Evaluation Review) are:

  • To assess whether the requirements identified in the business case have been satisfied and whether the project has met its objectives
  • To review estimated implementation costs and running costs against out-turn figures
  • To compare benefits gained against those initially envisaged
  • To consider ways in which systems or the use of systems might be enhanced to produce further savings or benefits
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